HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

Tips on how to create messaging that connects with your listeners with Scott Brown 

  • The magic with great, clean messaging is not just that it's persuasive. It may be. But most importantly, it's memorable.
  • If you boil it all down, I turn smart people into rich people.
  • What I like to do is think about how you can take your company messaging or your company's story and frame it, putting the audience first rather than yourself. And that's really what clean messaging is all about.
  • If we could find a way to help entrepreneurs using a framework or a canvas that looks similar to that lean startup canvas or the value prop canvas that helps them really talk to humans, I think we can change the world.
  • It's now about can what you've built help the person you're talking to?
  • All the science says that if you go data then intuition, you might win 17% of the time. But if you go intuition and just enough data to support it, you'll win 85% of the time.
  • It makes me nuts. Storytelling is interesting, but it's not actually the thing. What it is is about, how do I connect as a real human being to another real human being?
  • And the thing I like to talk to startup founders about is that, imagine what your life would be like if your messaging was as clean as your code.
  • If you're really going to have that strong clean message, you need everybody on board.
  • What is the simplest, most poetic way that you can describe your business starting with the listener?
  • We know that 42% of startup founders who shut down say they shut down because there was no market for their product. But come on, could that really be true?
  • You want messages that are memorable and repeatable for other people to say on your behalf. And are you planting those in enough places?
  • Every hour you spend thinking about how you're going to talk to human beings is an hour well-spent because you're your messaging will get tighter and people will start to understand how you can help them.

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HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

Think about how you can take your company messaging and frame it, putting your audience first.

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Doug Morneau: Well, welcome back, listeners. Another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today I think you're in for a real treat because my guest today is Scott Brown. Now, he focuses on empowering startups to rewrite their messaging to fully connect with their listeners. So before you think, “Hmm, I don't know about that,” when I ask Scott what he does, he said he helps really smart people become very rich. So, if you consider yourself a smart person and you're interested in becoming very rich, I'd suggest that you do what I did during our interview is grab a piece of paper and a pen and take down some notes because there's a lot of information here.

Doug Morneau: Scott is a former actor turned entrepreneur. And after having started eight companies over the last 25 years, he's covered topics from analgesics to bounced email. Today, Scott is the executive director of a company called UpRamp. He leads ventures and startup engagement for global connectivity industry in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. And he has the dubious honor of spending two and a half million dollars on the 21st worst Super Bowl ad in history.

Doug Morneau: He is an active advisor, investor and author, and he shares his unique blend of startup grit technology and his clean messaging system with startups around the world. So, I'd like to welcome Scott Brown to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today. Hey, Scott, I am super excited to have you as a guest today on the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast. So welcome.

Scott Brown: Thanks Doug. Great to be here.

Doug Morneau: I was so excited when I saw your background come across my desk as a potential guest. And the work that you do is working with startup companies. So, do you want to just give us a thumbnail sketch of what it is that you do, so we make sure we do a good job of representing you here today?

Scott Brown: Yeah, I'd be happy to. If you boil it all down, I turn smart people into rich people.

Doug Morneau: Well, there's nothing wrong with that, is there?

Scott Brown: Right. Oftentimes people ask me, “What do you do for people who aren't so smart?” And that's a bigger challenge.

Doug Morneau: How do you do that?

Scott Brown: It's funny, I have kind of a strange background. My first career, I was an actor, was lucky enough to travel the world acting, teaching and directing, mostly Shakespeare. And I stumbled into being an entrepreneur a little over 25 years ago. And now eight companies, six wins, one catastrophic fail later, I figured out that there's some magic in the way that actors and directors approach their craft and the way entrepreneurs approach ours.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. I've seen this recently over the last, say, six months. I've seen a number of companies talking about a direct link of the way that screenplays are written and soap operas are written and how we should communicate with our audience to engage the audience. Do you want to expand a bit on what you mean?

Scott Brown: Yeah, I'd be happy to. The thing is, we've actually done quite a disservice to startup founders today. 10 years ago, my friend Eric Ries, wrote this amazing book called The Lean Startup, which I'm sure all of your listeners have read. If you're building a company, it's the system that we use today, that lean startup canvas to figure out what to build. Build, measure, iterate. And we all get out of the office and we all do our customer discovery. And so we go talk to these potential customers and we ask them all these great questions. And they tell us, “Well, to make this work, it has to be AI and machine learning and AR, VR, SAS. It's got to have all of these features. There should be Kubernetes on an AWS cloud.” And we take all of that in and we go build it.

Doug Morneau: Yeah.

Scott Brown: But then when we go out to talk to the first stranger, we tell them everything we learned in customer discovery. We repeat back all of those acronyms thinking that's the magic in convincing somebody. But it's exactly the opposite. And so what I like to do is think about how you can take your company message or your company's story and frame it, putting the audience first rather than yourself. And that's really what clean messaging is all about.

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HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

Think about how you can take your company messaging and frame it, putting your audience first.

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Doug Morneau: Yeah. I like the example you gave on one of your Medium posts, The Fatal Flaw in Your Messaging is Holding Back Your Startup, with that mushroom that Mario could eat that would be, keep them alive forever. And I've been in those meetings and I've probably spoken in those meetings where I've been guilty of going through all the features and benefits and how we got there, as you said, and how we raise money and who our partners are and really never got to the heart of it is if they buy my product or my service, how's it going to make their life better?

Scott Brown: Yeah. Oh, yeah. I was on a call just yesterday with some amazing founders. They've built incredible technology. And in the first 20 minutes of a 30-minute phone call, they took me through the history of the internet. And I'm sorry, but I get it, right? I don't need all of that to figure out how I might be able to help. But unfortunately, as a founder, it's really hard to build something amazing. And so we want to tell people all the amazing stuff we built. And that's that fatal flaw. If we could find a way to help entrepreneurs using a framework or a canvas that looks similar to that lean startup canvas or the value prop canvas that helps them really talk to humans, I think we can change the world.

Doug Morneau: So, how do you walk people through that? I mean, I've worked with founders and I've worked with investors and venture capital guys. And so I've seen a little bit of this, so I have at least a little bit of an understanding. How do you transition people from the, hey, I'm the founder and this has been my baby that wanted to share the birth?

Scott Brown: Yeah. Usually, I start with some pretty harsh truth, which is, yes, it was hard to build this company and yes, you're brilliant, but as soon as you leave the office, nobody cares. It's no longer about you. It's no longer about what you've built. It's now about can what you've built help the person you're talking to? And so changing that perspective instead of communicating all the stuff that you do, instead, try to think about how can what you do help the person you're talking with?

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HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

Think about how you can take your company messaging and frame it, putting your audience first.

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Doug Morneau: Right And then probably on a more emotional level than a logical level.

Scott Brown: Oh, well, that's the thing. The human brain, strangely enough, kind of works like this. We have something that happens in the world and our brain immediately intuits a response and then we form a judgment and then we form the words to describe the judgment that we made. And yet, as normal people, we try to communicate in reverse. Imagine you're at that Thanksgiving dinner or that holiday dinner with the crazy uncle who has some weird-ass ideas, right?

Doug Morneau: Yeah.

Scott Brown: That guy, what you do in that conversation is you try to give them all the data on why that person's wrong, but that has never worked in the history of the world. And so if instead, you start with that intuitive side, what can we believe and agree on deeply as human beings, form a judgment on that and then give somebody just enough data to help them form the words to agree with you. That's where the magic happens. And all the science says that if you go data then intuition, you might win 17% of the time. But if you go intuition and just enough data to support it, you'll win 85% of the time.

Doug Morneau: Well, that's a pretty simple decision if we're going to hone our skills.

Scott Brown: Yeah, I think so.

Doug Morneau: I mean, the other thing is I looked at your bio when we started talking a little bit offline. You said you do more than invest and help people raise money, but it's also about people's assets. And I think of a startup that we were involved in at one point and we had these huge name brand companies and banks line up as partners. And that was really around messaging because it wasn't around money at that point because the company had not made any money. It was just a seed raise. But these people came and bought into the vision of how it can help people.

Scott Brown: That's right.

Doug Morneau: And so, yeah. I mean lots of times, we think, “Hey, we have to have this great pitch to pitch to raise money.” But you probably need to make sure your pitch or your presentation is pretty good if you want to attract key staff at the top CEO or CFO and maybe industry partners.

Scott Brown: Yeah, but keep in mind that all of those people you mentioned, investors, CEOs, CFOs, partners, they are all actual human beings. And all human beings make decisions the same way. It starts with an emotional, gut intuitive response, which forms a judgment and then they come up with the data or the words to back it up. And so if we treat all those people like actual humans, we know that if we move them first from that emotional side, then give them that data, we can win all the time. Now, keep in mind, there are a lot of people out there right now, Doug, that is talking about storytelling in quotes, right?

Doug Morneau: Yes, there is.

Scott Brown: It makes me nuts. Storytelling is interesting, but it's not actually the thing. What it is is about, how do I connect as a real human being to another real human being? And then there's a place to use story in this clean messaging framework, but it's not all about, “Let me tell you the story of how we invented this crazy product.” So many times I hear people come out of a storytelling consulting session and now they've got an amazing story all about themselves. But again, nobody cares.

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HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

Think about how you can take your company messaging and frame it, putting your audience first.

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Doug Morneau: Yeah. That's right. Yeah. I mean, if you're going to help somebody, getting up and telling a great story about you isn't going to help them at all.

Scott Brown: Right, yeah. It's fascinating. I love it, but it's not going to help me close a deal.

Doug Morneau: How did you develop this idea or this concept around clean messaging and build a framework around it to help your clients?

Scott Brown: Yeah. I've been working with entrepreneurs really the last 10 years as an investor, an advisor, or a coach board member. And I found myself having the same conversations over and over again, especially with very technical or incredibly smart founders. They would make the same mistakes over and over as soon as they went out to talk to actual people. And so after 10 years and a lot of coaching, I finally said, “We ought to find a way to make this part of the system. Let's find a way to craft a framework or a canvas that layers on top of the lean startup canvas, the value prop canvas, and now a clean messaging canvas. And so we can solve the problem of what to build and who to build it for and now how to talk about it.”

Doug Morneau: That's really interesting. So, it came out of your own need, like you said after working with these companies and said, “Hey, we need to do this.” And looking back at your data, I mean I'm a marketing guy but I like the numbers because I like, what you measure gets action. So, 17% intuition, or data than intuition. 85% if you do intuition than data first.

Scott Brown: That's right.

Doug Morneau: You also published a book on the topic.

Scott Brown: I did, yeah. (C)lean Messaging. It's on Amazon. Go find it, download it. You can also go to my website, which maybe we'll link to at some point, and you can download the canvas for free. My goal in all of this, Doug, is too many startups fail. Not because they have a bad product or because there's no market, but because really smart people have never been taught how to talk to humans. And my goal is to fix that.

Doug Morneau: So, do you want to walk us through maybe an example or …I mean we can't really do a case study, but maybe there's an example that you can share with us that comes to mind of somebody that you worked with that got it and moved in that direction and then there was a revelation and obviously a better result.

Scott Brown: Yeah, there's an amazing company that I worked with, in the Valley. And they have some really cool technology that's designed to help field technicians, people who do work up on poles or out in parking lots and things. And Rama, the CEO, is brilliant. He's got a Ph.D. in biology and he's founded a couple of different companies. Crazy smart guy. And when you first talk to him, he would tell me all of the features of this product. He would go on and on about AR glasses and AI and machine learning and CRM systems and all of the different things that this magical product would do.

Scott Brown: And so when I started talking to him, we kind of narrowed in on who was his actual customer. And you would think it's the field service people, but it's not. It's the field service people's boss. They're the person who's really doing the buying from Rama. And for them, they know that as people get really good out in the field, what happens? They get promoted. And so now all the best field service agents are actually in the office, not out in the field.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. The best sales guy's now the sales manager in what they're selling. Yeah.

Scott Brown: Yeah, exactly right. This happens everywhere. And so as soon as we hit that revelation, we knew that the deep human needs that Rama's actual buyer had was to find a way to help his field reps be as good as the smartest guy in his office. And as soon as he started talking about his product that way, he just went up into the right. He's done huge multimillion-dollar deals now with some of the biggest field service organizations in the US and his company's really taken off. And it was just that simple change of understanding who your customer was, finding their deepest human need and then leading with that in a very simple, easy to talk about clean message.

Doug Morneau: I mean, from the outside sitting where I'm sitting today, that sounds like a very easy number of steps to take. But I imagine once you start digging into it and peeling back the layers and looking through your collateral, your material, your presentations that you've done even right down to your websites, I'm assuming that most people are way off base.

Scott Brown: It's pretty brutal out there if I'm being honest. It's tough and this stuff is hard. It's a bit like the poetry of your startup. From the end product, it looks really simple and really easy. These poems about I ate the fruit in your refrigerator or whatever it was. Those things seem easy after the fact. And a great message feels easy after the fact, but it does take some work.

Scott Brown: And the thing I like to talk to startup founders about is that, imagine what your life would be like if your messaging was as clean as your code. We spend so much time polishing that rock around the code we write and the product we build, and almost no time thinking about how we're going to talk about it.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, yeah. I've got nothing to say. I've been on both sides of that equation, and it's a tough spot. When you're working with a company, are you typically engaged by the company? Are you typically engaged by the founder?

Scott Brown: Yeah, it happens in lots of different ways. It could be that the founder themselves realize they need to do something, and it's very early on. Sometimes, it's marketing organizations. I was brought into an amazing event where there were a bunch of local government officials that wanted to learn how to do this clean messaging to help communicate all their great ideas to their constituents. And what a great solution.

Scott Brown: And it's not just startup founders. I also get calls and do a lot of keynotes for large enterprises where they have an innovation team that's inventing the future of their business, but now they have to go out and sell it to their boss and their boss's boss or even outside customers. And they've never had to think about, how do we talk about this stuff to people who don't know us?

Doug Morneau: Yeah. That's funny. I mean, and your example there for government, I mean, that totally makes sense. You've got to persuade and get your message across to people that will support you so you can get the things, your vision executed, which takes buy-in from other people to vote for it and people to sign up, put their hand up and be the legs to make it happen.

Scott Brown: Yeah, that's right. And the magic with a great, clean message is not just that it's persuasive. It may be. But most importantly, it's memorable. And for pitching investors or customers, that's one of the most important things. You may talk to an investor on Tuesday, but it's going to be seven days, maybe 14 days later, that that investor has to stand up in front of a partner meeting and explain what it is your company does. And so if you didn't get across something that was memorable, you're going to lose every time.

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HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

Think about how you can take your company messaging and frame it, putting your audience first.

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Doug Morneau: And I never would have gotten there. I would've thought it would have been some compelling aha, some wow moment in terms of what the innovation could do, which is exactly what you're teaching people not to do and make it memorable. I mean, I've presented to VCs, and when I first started, it was not a good experience for me and probably not for them either.

Scott Brown: I've been on both sides of that meeting as well.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. So, a few times I've put my hand in the door as I was leaving and said, “Okay, before I go, can you tell me, could you just give me a hint? Where did I go wrong?”

Scott Brown: Right. What happened here?

Doug Morneau: Yeah. How did I blow this up?

Scott Brown: That's great.

Doug Morneau: When you're working with maybe a startup or an entrepreneur, how often do you spend time with the rest of their team? Is that part of getting the message out or are you going to do the teach the teacher part?

Scott Brown: I think it's important depending on the stage of the company that we get all the right people in the room. And so if it's a small startup team, then it could be everybody. It could be just the founders, it could be the key executive team. Because ultimately, everybody has to get on the same page. And that's the great thing about the clean messaging canvas is that once we figure it out and get all of it plugged in, then it becomes the cheat sheet for all of those media conversations that everybody on your executive team is going to have.

Scott Brown: And so we often see companies who've gone through this process pull those cheat sheets out, those clean messaging canvases out before every podcast, before every media interview, and just remind themselves of those key things. A simple story, a couple of number analogies, a handful of earworms, that simple clean message that starts with the listener instead of yourself.

Doug Morneau: Well, that's interesting. I mean, because, wow, so that's something. You're saying the teams, just that's part of their, becomes their culture?

Scott Brown: Yeah. It's part of the process. And that's what helps, right? Because if you're really going to have that strong clean message, you need everybody on board. And so a brand new startup typically does four canvases. One that's central to the core of the business, one about maybe the top feature, one about the second-best feature, and then a canvas for each of the core founders.

Doug Morneau: What are you calling a canvas? Just so we get a clear picture of what it is that you're talking about.

Scott Brown: Yeah. You've seen the lean startup canvas, right, with the little boxes?

Doug Morneau: Yep.

Scott Brown: It looks exactly like that.

Doug Morneau: Okay.

Scott Brown: You fill in something about your listeners, something about you, smash it together into a clean message and then there are some places to back it up with interesting content.

Doug Morneau: And I think I had read on one of your posts, I don't want to butcher your message, so feel free to correct me, was that it needs to get down to a sentence or two.

Scott Brown: Yeah. Yeah. It really is boiling it down to the simplest elements. What is the simplest, most poetic way that you can describe your business starting with the listener?

Doug Morneau: So this might not be a great question. I'm going to ask it anyhow because I'm assuming that some of our listeners are listening going, “Okay, that sounds really good.” But in this hyper-speed world that we live in, how long does it take to walk through this process? I'm not looking for a definitive, you can do it in like 23 and a half hours. But just to give us a broad-brush approach because you don't want someone to say, “Hey, good. I'll do this tomorrow and I'll be ready to go pitch two days from now.”

Scott Brown: Yeah. When I sit down with a company, we can usually get to something pretty close to good and testable in about an hour on one topic. So, the company in general in about an hour if I'm working with you. If we do it separately, if you download the book, if you get the framework off the website and start working on it, then it's probably a couple of hours, maybe three, four hours to really figure out something that you want to test. And then it gets faster and faster as you do it a few more times.

Doug Morneau: Well, that's not the answer I was expecting. I'm glad I asked the question because we're looking at the numbers and the data that you've shared and the benefit to people who invest and follow your system. The numbers are ridiculously in their favor to spend a couple of hours. I mean, you're not saying weeks and months.

Scott Brown: Yeah, no, not at all. It's a simple change. And if we do it, then I know we can change this failure rate of brand new startups. We know that 42% of startup founders who shut down say they shut down because there was no market for their product. But come on, could that really be true? I mean, nobody starts a business knowing they have no customers. And so there's got to be something else. And I think it really comes down to spending a little bit more time figuring out how to talk to humans about this brilliant invention of yours.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, I don't know what the numbers are. I mean, I trust you in the numbers, but I would agree. I mean, I've met with enough people that have just brilliant ideas and I've been on the side as an agency with them and I've seen it blow up because the messaging is just way off. So, identify your target audience. Yeah. We get that. Build your customer avatar, that's right. Now create your messaging. But wow, 42%.

Scott Brown: Yeah. It's insane. And I think we can change that. And that's really what clean messaging is about. I built this whole thing kind of as a passion project. I've been lucky enough across my startup career that I wanted to find a way to take all of these meetings I've had with amazing founders over the years and boil it down to a system that helps everybody talk better to potential customers and investors and media.

Doug Morneau: Well, and I think from your side, just looking at just a little bit of the background that I know as an investor, I mean, you must see opportunities. You're thinking, “If we can get the messaging right, this can be a home run.”

Scott Brown: Yes, yes. I mean, that's one of my favorite things. I love to find startup founders who have a brilliant idea that just haven't quite figured out how to talk about it yet. Because I know I can come in and add value right away and we can start to see some benefit in the business.

Doug Morneau: Well, I want to circle back to something else that you said, and this kind of slid into the end of your sentence, but I just want our audience to get a little bit deeper information here. You said, so it takes close to an hour if they're working with you one on one or maybe a couple of hours if they go buy your book, download the framework and work through it themselves. But then at the very end of that, you said, “And then test.”

Scott Brown: Yes.

Doug Morneau: Do you want to expand on the then test?

Scott Brown: Yeah. Well, nothing's ever perfect when it first comes out, right? And so messaging is exactly the same way. You may think you have the most perfect message after doing three, four, five hours of work with your team on it. And then you bring it out to the world and people go, “Eh, meh.” Didn't really hit. When you have a great clean message, people hear it and go, “Oh yeah, that's right. Yeah, that's me. I feel that.” And so if you're not getting that kind of, that's the right reaction, then you might want to go back and keep tweaking it and testing it and try something else.

Scott Brown: Early on in every one of my companies, I've tried lots of different messages and many of them fail. But eventually, you narrow in on the stuff that starts to work. You find that deep human need that really resonates, and then how your product or service or idea can enable that or support that or solve that for people.

Doug Morneau: What is the expectation level from someone who is going to start this process? Because you say, “Then test,” and I agree with testing. We do it. With everything that we do, we test, we measure because we're always looking, how can we increase the baseline? If we can get a half a percent here or 1% better there, 2% better there, just turning the knobs, then it's a win. So, do people push back when you say, “Okay, here's your messaging? Now we want to test it to validate how it's performing compared to what you were doing”?

Scott Brown: Mm, yeah. And it's tough to test messaging in that kind of quantitative way.

Doug Morneau: Okay.

Scott Brown: And so it's tough to say, “We changed our messaging and suddenly our sales have grown by 78%,” unless that was the only thing that changed. And that's rarely the case.

Doug Morneau: Right.

Scott Brown: And so what we say is you've got to gauge the reaction of the people you're talking to. If people suddenly get excited or somebody goes, “Oh, that's right,” or they start to feel it in the conversation, then you know you're onto something. If you can sense that you've hit them emotionally somehow and then give them just enough data to support it, then you know you're in the right spot.

Doug Morneau: Well, I guess you should be able to see that. I mean, on your Twitter account, I can see you've got one of the tweets pinned up there when you were speaking at a, giving your TED Talk. And so if you're out speaking to audiences, whether it's a TED Talk or the Chamber of Commerce or your industry associations, you can pretty much see if the audience is with you or not with you. So, there's one way to judge.

Scott Brown: Yeah. And it's not just in a big speaking engagement either. It could be a one-on-one sales call. It could be standing at a bar. “Hey, Bob, what do you do?” “Oh, well, I got a little company that turns acorns into gold.” “Oh, okay. Tell me more.” Right?

Doug Morneau: Yeah.

Scott Brown: And so it's that kind of small opportunities to test things to see if it's memorable, repeatable if it's audience-focused. If people get that, “Oh, that's right,” kind of feeling.

Doug Morneau: Well, and I was reading one of Russell Brunson's books just recently. And he talked about the importance of when he's doing webinars to launch a product, why he does them live for, he's saying for at least three to four months because he needs the feedback from the audience-

Scott Brown: [inaudible 00:27:22].

Doug Morneau: … as he's testing the messaging, the slides, the questions, the stories to see which is resonating most with the audience. And at the end of the day, his measure of how it's resonating is what happens at the shopping cart.

Scott Brown: Yeah. Yeah.

Doug Morneau: But as you said, he's testing every single time. So, if he's doing it once a week, which he recommends, it's once a week and constantly tweaking and trying to make it better.

Scott Brown: That's right. And messaging is exactly the same way. And there were lots of pieces of data in this clean messaging framework that helps support your simple message. But you've got to test all of them. Because you want things that are memorable and repeatable for other people to say on your behalf. And are you planting those in enough places? Do you have that great clean message that makes people remember who you are? And do you have a little story about what a user's life is like after using your product where people can imagine themselves as the protagonist? And when you have those things, magic just happens.

Doug Morneau: In the world, as you mentioned earlier, there's a number of consultancies that have come to be recently that are helping people with storytelling. So, what do you think is bad advice in the industry now? So I'm just ripping off a Tim Ferriss question and that is when you're out speaking at a group or you're out at an association or you're with a company, what's the bad advice you're hearing around messaging these days?

Scott Brown: There is a plague of storytelling experts now. And I know I'm going to get hit up on the Twitter machine and probably shouldn't have said it, but they are everywhere. Everybody loves to talk about the story. And my biggest pet peeve, we mentioned it earlier, Doug, is that storytelling isn't the answer. And especially when it's storytelling about you, then it's just a double fail. You've got to have a story. You've got to have a way to help people imagine their life after using your product. However, just telling a story for the sake of a story doesn't actually move the needle on sales.

Scott Brown: And for me, I'm a longtime startup founder, and so it all comes back to the lemonade stand. We've got to be able to have a product that people want, sell it for more than it cost to make and do that over and over again. And if we forget one of those little pieces, then we're lost. I had a .com back in '99 and we were great at having a product people loved. We just didn't charge anything for it. And so it lasted 18 months, like every other .com in '99. And today, we have an opportunity to do something different. And if storytelling is just about you or just random fluff that helps you pad a conversation and not look like a lizard person, that's not enough. We've got to find a way to use these tools to close more deals.

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HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

Think about how you can take your company messaging and frame it, putting your audience first.

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Doug Morneau: Well, in today, I mean, there are so many opportunities. There are so many tools out there. I mean, with LinkedIn Live coming new and all of the video tools that are out there, I mean, the ability for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketing types to go out there and to reach their audience and show them how they can help them or change their life, I mean, the tools are endless.

Scott Brown: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I have some of my friends that use this system. They love to take their clean message and just post it randomly on Twitter and see what happens. And if they get people responding to it, like, “Oh, man, that's me.” Or they get all those retweets and likes, then they know they're on to something.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. I'm just laughing because obviously you were in other different parts of the world, but I remember testing advertising subject lines in the newspaper classifieds and just going to a number. And all we were doing was counting the number of calls that came in so we could make a decision on where we would spend our money with what resonated with the audience.

Scott Brown: Yeah, yeah. And that's it. Anywhere we have an audience, you just got to find a way to test these things a little bit. And it doesn't have to be perfect, but I'll tell you, every hour you spend thinking about how you're going to talk to human beings is an hour well-spent because you're going to get better and your messaging will get tighter and people will start to understand how you can help them.

Doug Morneau: I've got business friends and associates who spent a lot of time going out and talking to people. And I think when we're done our interview, I'm going to have a conversation with them because I'm thinking, if they just canceled a few of the networking events they went to and hone their messaging, they could probably get a lot more ROI from the meetings they're going to. They're going to fewer meetings and have a better conversation than going to every single meetup group and every single chamber board meeting in the country.

Scott Brown: Amen brother. Yeah, you got to do the work, right? All the fun parts, you've got to find a way to leverage those. And so what we see with people who have really figured out the clean messaging is that when they show up at one of those dinner parties or networking events, if their clean messaging is really good, then the first person they talk to starts walking around the room saying, “Oh, man, I just met this guy who's got a company that turns acorns into gold.” And now they're telling the story for you.

Doug Morneau: Or in your case, you make smart people rich.

Scott Brown: See, you remembered.

Doug Morneau: I remember. Well, I wrote it down, so I-

Scott Brown: You cheated.

Doug Morneau: … I didn't remember, but I wrote it down because it was important to me. I went, “Okay. So, that's a really easy way to, when I leave like I said when I go to have my conversation when we have done this interview, say, ‘Hey, I just talked to a guy who makes smart people rich and here's what he's going to do.'”

Scott Brown: There you go.

Doug Morneau: Who's one guest I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Scott Brown: Have you met Jerry Colonna?

Doug Morneau: I have not.

Scott Brown: Jerry Colonna is a saint. Jerry Colonna is one of the original most successful venture capitalists from New York. And he had some things happen in his life and he left venture capital, and now he's known as the CEO whisperer. I was lucky enough to have him as my CEO coach, oh, five, six years ago. He finally released a book called Reboot, which you should absolutely get. And get him on your show because Jerry will change lives. He is that good.

Doug Morneau: That's amazing. You've given us a lot of information to think about. And what I like is that your messaging was very succinct and it was very easy to understand. So, obviously you practice what you preach.

Scott Brown: Thank you. I try.

Doug Morneau: Now, where's the best place for our listeners to connect with you? I mean, you've shared a lot of information, so if they want to hunt you down, obviously go to Amazon, order the book. That's what I'll do when we're done and we disconnect here from the internet is I will go and pick it up on Amazon. It's only 9.95 in paperback.

Scott Brown: There you go.

Doug Morneau: So, it's a very inexpensive investment in my future.

Scott Brown: Awesome. Thank you for that. Yeah. Obviously get the book, but I've set up something just for your listeners today. If they go to scottbrown.co/rmrf, I've got the ability for everyone listening to download that clean messaging framework and start working on it right away. There's also a great video that shows me talking about it and teaching it to, I think it was a startup week event a few years back. So, there's a great opportunity to do a little bit of learning, get the framework right away, buy the book, and of course, you can always reach out to me on email or Twitter or LinkedIn.

Doug Morneau: Just kind of a side question, is your program available? Is this something that you think you'll see into schools, universities and schools?

Scott Brown: Wouldn't that be awesome? I would love that. I'm not sure if it'll ever get there, but I'm going to start with entrepreneurs and startup founders and innovators around the world and maybe it'll get there.

Doug Morneau: Yeah. If you get enough entrepreneurs, they'll put their money behind it and move it into the schools to make sure their kids are good communicators because who knows what the future is going to look like with the kids as the world keeps changing so quickly?

Scott Brown: Yeah, you're right, Doug. I mean, imagine if there was even a one-semester class on how to talk to human beings in your … or your computer science track at university.

Doug Morneau: Yeah.

Scott Brown: It would change the world.

Doug Morneau: Or in any job you're going to I mean, you might be the boss or you might be talking your boss and you're going to have staff and you're going to have customers and yeah. So, I mean it's got an application obviously in all areas of life.

Scott Brown: Yeah.

Doug Morneau: Well, I just want to say thanks so much. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day today and just sharing some of your knowledge and wisdom with our listeners. I'm super excited about what you shared today. And on the other side, I'm a bit nervous. I'm thinking, “Oh, man, I've got to go through and I got to …” I just have visions of how bad my stuff is. I need to rework it, so.

Scott Brown: Well, give me a call. I'm happy to help, Doug. This has been so much fun. I really enjoyed this conversation. I appreciate your time and generosity and for asking me on.

Doug Morneau: Yeah, well, thanks so much. So there you go, listeners. There's another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast, but more importantly, Scott has shared with you how he makes smart people rich. So, if you want to, if you think you're a smart person and you want to be rich, make sure you reach out, connect with him. We'll make sure the show notes are transcribed and posted for you and it'll be on social media. So, you'll be able to track him down, hunt them down, find him, learn more about him. And if you're not interested in being rich, then maybe this isn't the episode for you. But if you are, then make sure that you connect with them. Thanks so much, Scott, and have an amazing rest of the week.

Scott Brown: Thank you. You too. Bye now.

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HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO CREATE MESSAGING THAT CONNECTS WITH YOUR LISTENERS

Think about how you can take your company messaging and frame it, putting your audience first.

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VIDEO STORYTELLING TO MAKE AN IMPACT

WRITING AUTHENTIC COPY